After a year marked by grief and battle, 14-year-old Canadian swimmer Summer McIntosh certified for the 400m freestyle final after posting the fifth-fastest time within the preliminary heats Sunday.
The teen phenom completed behind American swimmer Katie Ledecky — who gained the warmth — with a scorching time of 4:02:72, breaking a Canadian nationwide file within the occasion. McIntosh has been driving a sizzling streak over the previous few months after a troublesome year that included her longtime coach dying and her father being identified with most cancers.
“I’m still processing everything. It doesn’t feel real yet,” she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation days earlier than her record-breaking race. “But it’s been great to see my hard work come to life and see that hard work always pays off.”
At the Canadian Olympic trials in June, she edged out four-time Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak within the 200m freestyle. At the trials, she additionally gained the 800m freestyle. In May she swam the quickest time for a 14-year-old within the 400m freestyle.
Despite her latest success, McIntosh’s highway to the Olympics has been a troublesome one. Her coach, Kevin Thorburn, died in April 2020, and in January, her father was identified with most cancers. McIntosh’s mom, Jill — a Canadian swimmer on the 1984 Olympics — mentioned how the timing of Thorburn’s loss on the peak of the pandemic, made it “very difficult” for his swimmers to grieve over his loss of life.
“I think they’re all still going through the grieving process and I think all of them are honoring him through their swimming,” she advised the CBC.
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The younger swimming star nonetheless speaks about her former coach usually and in response to Jill will “carry all his wisdom with her throughout her career.”
Summer’s father, Greg, added that he was extremely happy with all his daughter has achieved within the face of adversity.
“I’m really proud about how my kids handled [my diagnosis], taking it one day at a time and really focusing on what they can control and let the rest take its course,” he mentioned.
Summer will subsequent race within the 400m freestyle final and the 200m preliminary heats on Monday.